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American Badger

Taxidea taxus


 Physical Characteristics

The badger is a brown fur-covered mammal with short legs and low profile. The head appears pointed and small for the body. They have short ears and a short , furry tail.

Badgers weigh 4 to 12 kg. The body is flattened, and the legs are short and stocky. The fur on the back and flanks of the animal ranges from grayish to reddish. The ventrum is a buffy color. The face of the badger is distinct. The throat and chin are whitish, and the face has black patches. A white dorsal stripe extends back over the head from the nose.


Badgers prefer to live in dry, open grasslands, fields, and pastures. They are found from high alpine meadows to sea level. The principal habitat requirements for this species appear to be sufficient food (burrowing rodents), friable soils, and relatively open, uncultivated ground. American badgers are primarily found in areas of low to moderate slope.


Badgers are carnivorous (meat eater). They eat a variety of small animals, including pocket gophers, ground squirrels, moles, rabbits, rats, deer mice, and voles. They also eat reptiles, insects, birds and their eggs, and carrion.


Badgers are solitary animals who are mainly active at night. They tend to be inactive during the winter months. They are not true hibernators, but spend much of the winter in cycles of torpor that usually last about 29 hours. (torpor: a state of motor and mental inactivity with a partial suspension of sensibility)

Badgers are known to be excellent digging machines. Their powerfully built forelimbs allow them to tunnel rapidly through the soil and other substrates. They construct underground burrows for protection and sleeping. A typical badger den may be as far as 3 meters below surface, contain approximately 10 meters of tunnels and an enlarged sleeping chamber. Badgers use multiple burrows within their home range. Although home range size varies according to geographic area, distribution of food sources, and season, the general range of this species is 395 – 2,100 acres.

If threatened, they attack explosively with hissing, growling and biting.

badger tracks


Mating occurs in late summer or early autumn, and young are born in March and early April. The average litter size is about 3, but ranges from 1 to 5. Male badgers are polygamous but usually do not reach sexual maturity until 2 years of age. Females generally reach sexual maturity as yearlings; impregnation has been reported in juvenile females as early as 4-5 months of age.

Female badgers prepare a grass-lined den before giving birth. Badgers are born blind and helpless with only a thin coat of fur. The eyes of the youngsters open at 4 to 6 weeks old. The young are nursed by their mother until they are 2 to 3 months old. The cubs may emerge from the den as early as 5 to 6 weeks old. Juveniles disperse at 5 to 6 months.


The American badger is an aggressive animal and has few natural enemies. Predation on smaller individuals by golden eagles, coyotes, cougars and bobcats have been reported. Bears occasionally kill American badgers.


American badger, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia